Have You Been to In Her Shoes Yet?

Need plans for the weekend? Do you live in Palo Alto, California? Have you been to In Her Shoes yet?

This shoe store in Palo Alto has some of the most whimsical, varied, practical and fun shoes you will ever find. Flats, dressy to super casual, comfy, boots and rain boots, high and low heals, colors, sparkles make the selection incredible. There are also purses, handbags, tights, belts, scarves and jewelry to round out any outfit. Prices start at under $30, but there are some more upscale brands.

in_her_shoesAlso, while you are visiting In Her Shoes take a break and get a pedicure.

However, what makes this shoe store really unusual is that the owner, Pamela Rosekrans is donating all the profits to the Global Fund for Women. I volunteer at the store on Wednesdays, but you can come in any day from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. except Sunday, when the store opens at noon. Call 650-326-9611 and you can schedule a pedicure, and through March bring a friend for free. Please do comment since Yelp already has 8 reviews, 7 with 5 stars. 

In Her Shoes
644 Emerson Street
(Between Hamilton and Forest)
Palo Alto, CA

Kickboxing Against Violence in Hong Kong

Why hold a walk-a-thon to raise money for women's rights when you can break a kickboxing world record? Global Fund grantee, The HER Fund in Hong Kong, is hosting such an event to raise funds for their 88 Day Campaign - which is named for the number of days that fall between International Human Rights Day on December 10th and International Women's Day on March 8th.

Global Fund adviser Lin Chew sent us this article on the event:

her_poster Domestic violence in Hong Kong hit the headlines again last month when national and international media reported on the increase of incidents by 79 percent last year, prompting calls for concerted government action to halt the trend. Police figures revealed 4,704 "domestic violence" cases in 2006 compared with 2,628 the year before. A majority of the cases involved heated "disputes" or a "breach of peace", but 1,811 were classified as crimes, including nine murders, nine rapes and 137 cases of injuries. The sharp rise in domestic violence cases comes after chief executive Donald Tsang pledged to make tackling the phenomenon a policy priority in his policy address speech last year.

The rise in domestic violence cases comes at a time when Hong Kong's economy is booming but the gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening rapidly. The city's obsession with wealth and pressure on the young to perform is seen as one of the major factors causing breakdowns in family communications that then trigger these violent incidents. Those who have been following the issue for years however also attribute the problem to prevailing society's low attitude towards women, the elderly and the children - who comprised most of the victims of domestic violence. Some studies have also pointed at the rising social tensions in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule, with a growing number of marriages between Hong Kong men and women from mainland China failing. Growing awareness and sense of empowerment among local women to report abuses that might otherwise have gone un-noticed may have also been a factor in this increasing visibility of the problem.

Women's groups are campaigning for the establishment of a domestic violence court and updating of existing laws for better protection of the victims.

What you can do

Assistance available to victims of violence in the family remains limited. There are only four shelters in Hong Kong, providing around 170 places, which is a starkly inadequate number for a population of 6.8 million. Victims of domestic violence complain of inadequate legal and psychological support from government's social services units and often feel isolated and confused. The heavy workload and increasingly limited resources of government social workers affect their ability to respond effectively. Private resources, such as those from women's advocacy groups, have attempted to fill the gaps. However they are hampered by a lack of funding. Philanthropic institutions in Hong Kong do not typically fund specifically women's concerns, except in the case of basic needs, such as alleviation of poverty and child care.

HER Fund strives to strengthen women's resistance to violence

This is a young fund that was set up on March 8 2004, in order to support the work of women's organisations in Hong Kong, which strives to address the issues around violence against women. There are many forms of violence that are directed towards women, especially those in maginalised sectors of the society, for example, migrant women, domestic workers, sex workers and lesbians, and the factors which contribute to incidences of a specific form are various.

Next to the necessity to address the general root causes of violence in the society, HER Fund believes that the most effective way to reduce violence against women is to make women stronger and more able to resist violence. Therefore HER Fund also supports women's organisations that work to strengthen women to participate in the economic, political and social life of the society. In order to do this, women (and girls) need access to education, work and health.

FUNDRAISING: KickStart her Strength in Motion

In order to fulfil this mission, HER Fund strives to raise resources from individuals, foundations and corporate companies within and outside of Hong Kong.

Every year, during the 88 days between December 10 (International Human Rights Day) and March 8(International Women's Day), HER Fund carries out her main fundraising activities, under the motto: " $88 for March 8".

This year, the theme of HER Fund's 88 Days Fundraising Campaign is "Stop Violence Against Women." The highlight of this year's campaign is an event to set a Guinness Book Record for the largest number of people "kickboxing " at the same time. The event is co-organised together with a professional kickboxing studio called "KickStart" whish will provide instructors to lead the actual exercise, and teach participants the basic movements of kickboxing.

Visit the HER Fund website for more information.


Another World is Possible — Notes from the World Social Forum

At the World Social Forum in Kenya last month, Bay Area reporter, Sara Wolcott attended a lecture given by the Global Fund's Muadi Mukenge. Read Sara's thoughts on the impact of globalization on African women in Bay Area Business Woman.


Lifting Up Tibet's Women

Today's San Francisco Chronicle featured an article about a young Bay Area woman who co-founded Global Fund grantee, The Shem Women's Group. Established in 2003, the group is dedicated to improving the lives of Tibetan women and communities through development and education. The Shem Women address the needs of increased access to safe drinking water, education, fuel, electricity, and health care by training Tibetan women to design and implement programs for their immediate communities.

Read about Michelle Kleisath and the Shem Women's Group in the Chronicle.


Letter from Tanzania

I'm taking advantage of free Internet at the hotel where I'm staying in Arusha to send this update. I arrived in here Monday night. It's five hours by bus from Nairobi, with a population of about 300,000 -- a perfect size. Not too big! Fairly good infrastructure, lots of trees and the city is surrounded by Mt. Meru -- very scenic. Since arriving I've been visiting grantees and potential grantees as well. The first day I met with the Maasai Women's Development Organization, which has received 2 grants to work with the Maasai, who are one of the most marginalized communities in Tanzania.

MWEDO is linked to GROOTS International that we fund in Kenya and targets pastoralist communities to advance women's rights, property rights, and economic independence. It provides business skills training, HIV and health awareness, literacy classes, scholarships for girls, and information sessions on women's rights and land rights. MWEDO assists Maasai women in obtaining land titles to protect themselves from land privatization schemes that are pushing the Maasai onto smaller and smaller spaces. The literacy classes utilize content that is relevant to the Maasai, and after six months groups of women develop a group IGA project to enable women to earn income. The HIV education is really important as the Maasai are polygamous and regard AIDS as a "town disease". However, they have been receptive to the training and have stopped some of the cultural practices that put youth at risk.
I like MWEDO's methodology of using traditional structures for the training, and facilitating brainstorming by the community on how they can solve their own problems. MWEDO asked for specific assistance in establishing an endowment (inspired by reading GFW newsletters!)

Yesterday I went out to Emusoi Centre, about a 30 minute drive, which is a school for Maasai girls preparing to enter secondary schools. Emusoi means "discovery" in Maa, the language of the Maasai. Because many Maasai attend sub-standard primary schools, Emusoi Cnetre offers remedial courses to prepare them for the national exam to enter high school.

The facilities are very nice, for about 40 students, who are then placed in various high schools in the region with Emusoi paying tuition, uniform and incidentals since parents cannot afford it.

I was very impressed with the Centre  -- the students I met were beginning their annual program. Many are the only girls in their family to attend school. If they were not at Emusoi they would have been married by now. A few are married but their mothers insisted they continue school. It's heartening to hear that the demand for placement is increasing, the Parliament member from the Maasai district is regularly referring students (finding sponsors for them), even the male guards at the school have reserved spaces for their daughters. The first university student sponsored by Emusoi will graduate this year. It is hoped that Maasai women will return to their communities to teach, as there is dire shortage of teachers in their communities. The talk with the girls was wonderful - they started out very quiet, but at the end they couldn't stop asking questions.

Today I spent time with a group of women farmers that works with Global Service Corps, a San Francisco-based organization that runs sustainable development programs in Tanzania. They host American volunteers to work in Arusha for one month to 6 months, with focus on AIDS, nutrition and sustainable development. The sustainable development piece involves training women in organic farming. We went out to their demonstration farm, which uses compost, mulch, and techniques that require less water and promote growth of natural seeds. The idea is to grow healthy food that is independent from fertilizers and costly imports. So the women's group I met has been part of this training, which they say is what their grandparents used to do until World Bank programs forced them to do otherwise.

The group is interested in selling their organic produce for income, but challenges include: no organic certification, no marketing training, need for business skills, interest in microfinance , food processing and additional training in general. They described their lives as hectic with farm work, childcare and do not have a clinic close by. When we talked about women's rights, they indicated they want classes for men on gender and HIV/AIDS. The training is a training of trainers model so the group is now training other women and communities are becoming more independent. So it's been a very fruitful and productive trip!
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